On March 29, NOAA Fisheries announced the allocation of an additional $255 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The funding will support activities previously authorized under Sec. 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Washington and Alaska will each receive $40 mil. out of the $255 mil. allocation. Similar to the first round of CARES Act funding, once a state’s spend plan has been approved by NOAA, the agency anticipates that the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSFMC) will review applications. PSFMC will then process payments to eligible fishery participants on behalf of Washington and Alaska, though the states will have the option to process payments themselves. More information can be found here.
The deadline to apply for economic assistance under the Washington Seafood CARES Act economic assistance program has been extended from March 25, 2021 to April 9, 2021. All applications must be postmarked no later than April 9, 2021 or uploaded to Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (PSFMC) ShareFile site by 5:00 pm (PDT) on April 9. Applications postmarked past April 9 or uploaded after 5:00 PM (PDT) on April 9 will not be entertained or processed. PSFMC anticipates disbursements to begin sometime in May 2021. An application can be found here.
Governor Inslee announced that essential workers, including all commercial fishing operators and crewmembers 16 years of age older, will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning on March 17. Governor Inslee’s press release can be found here. PSVOA will be coordinating with the Washington Department of Health on the plans to distribute to the vaccine to the Washington based commercial fishing fleets.
As of March 9, 2021, anyone 16 years of age or older who either lives or works in Alaska is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information or to schedule an appointment please go to the Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services website.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) recently clarified that commercial fishermen who received payment after July 31, 2020 for fish landed during the January 1 – July 31, 2020 qualifying period may use either the accrual accounting method (fish ticket based) or when the cash accounting method (payment based). For the accrual method, commercial fishermen who made deliveries up until July 31 but did receive payment until a later date can include those earned revenues in their claim for lost income. For more information, please refer to PSMFC’s FAQ, which can be found here. All applications must be postmarked no later than March 25, 2021 or uploaded to PSFMC’s ShareFile site by 5:00 pm (PDT) on March 25.
WDFW has scheduled a public meeting to present an overview of the Washington CARES Act Seafood Disaster Relief Spending Plan and to answer questions about the application on February 23 at 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The Zoom link to attend the meeting can be found here.
On February 10, Alaska government officials announced that non-resident seafood workers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Previously, only Alaska-resident seafood workers were eligible. As it currently stands, seafood workers aged 50 and over qualify to receive the vaccine. A story in the Anchorage Daily News regarding the change in policy can be found here. Alaska officials are scheduled to provide an update on COVID-19 protective measures at the United Fishermen of Alaska Board meeting on February 17 - 18. This is a highly fluid situation, and PSVOA will post additional updates here as significant developments occur.